Friday, June 26, 2015

Franklin Food Pantry Recognized for Making an Impact on Community

The Franklin Food Pantry is getting noticed for its efforts to move beyond immediate hunger relief by addressing the root causes of hunger and promoting better nutritional health. The Pantry has received two recognition awards from area organizations: the Red Triangle Award from the Hockomock Area YMCA, and the Community Impact Award from the United Way of Tri-County. 
Both organizations recently applauded the Franklin non-profit for going above and beyond in serving the Franklin community, and for its strong impact on the lives of the nearly 600 families it serves. 
The Red Triangle Award recognizes the Pantry for its “steadfast dedication and partnership with the Hockomock Area YMCA to meet the changing needs of our community.” Through a partnership with the Hockomock Y, the Pantry created a Healthy Futures Shelf that offers clients access to nutritious food. 
Nutrition information is posted with food products so that clients can make informed choices to fit their special dietary needs, such as low fat, high protein or gluten-free. In addition, the Pantry works with the YMCA to offer Cooking Matters classes that educate families how to manage their food budgets and prepare healthy meals. 
“Working with the Hockomock Area YMCA and Stop & Shop, we began to take preventative measures to help combat high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity,” said Erin Lynch, Franklin Food Pantry executive director. “As part of the Y’s Healthy Futures Initiative, we help our clients make healthier food choices and offer them access to more nutritious food, such as fresh produce and high protein items like chicken.” 
The Community Impact Award is given to United Way of Tri-County (UWTC) Community Partners that have changed the lives of the people they serve. The award states that the Franklin Food Pantry, with resources from the UWTC, changed lives by “effectively and innovatively delivering a program that addresses root causes within the areas of Education, Health, Financial Stability or Basic Human Needs.” 

Erin Lynch, executive director of the Franklin Food Pantry, is shown here with the award.
Erin Lynch, executive director of the Franklin Food Pantry, is shown here with the award
Lynch said that thanks to the generous support from organizations such as the United Way of Tri-County and the Hockomock Area YMCA, the Pantry was able to offer programs to empower community members to become more self-sufficient through resources and education. 
Examples include Cooking Matters which teaches families how to shop smarter and cook delicious, affordable meals; and a Healthy Futures Market that offers fresh produce weekly from June to October. The high cost of fresh fruits and vegetables can be a barrier to wholesome nutrition for many families. 
“The money we receive through grants, as well as individual and corporate donations, allows us to go beyond just getting food to people,” said Lynch. “We are able to offer the kind of support and education that can impact our clients for a lifetime.”

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